The Executive Committee of SA Rugby held a virtual meeting on Friday, 22 January 2021 to discuss, among other things, the impact of the current level 3 adjusted lockdown regulations and the second wave of Covid-19 and the way forward for club rugby in 2021.
The Executive Committee deliberated the following issues:
- The second wave of Covid-19 and the risk that it poses to the welfare of players.
- The approach to planning the start of the season. More specfically, that the planning is done in a structured way to ensure that it provides a sense of “hope” to players and coaching staff.
- The costly financial impact brought about by the testing procedures involved for training and matches. Even though amateur rugby doesn’t need to test, SA Rugby decided to mitigate against the risk.
- The physical, emotional and mental well-being of players.
- Protection of the game of rugby.
The following decisions were taken after the deliberations:
- All amateur (clubs, community, associations) rugby activities are suspended, including training until 08 February 2021, where after the status will be reassessed and communicated as such.
- SA Rugby will monitor the transmission and infection status of the virus in the country continuously as well as when rugby training and match play returns.
- All Unions will be regularly updated and informed when a return to train will be implemented once it is established that the infection rate in all provinces have returned to its previous status, indicating that the second wave of the virus is under control.
- When rugby returns to training the following structured approach will be adopted to ensure that the safety of the players is taken into consideration:
- Phase 1: A minimum of 4 weeks of non-contact training. The emphasis during this time will be focused on fitness and strength.
- Phase 2: Following phase 1 (and if permitted by the relevant authoritative bodies) a minimum of 4 weeks gradual integation of contact training.
- Phase 3: Return to play.
Bear in mind that the Varsity Cup sits outside SA Rugby’s control. Universities have got their own COVID management group and effectively the Universities themselves will decide whether they participate in sport or not.
It remains our collective responsibility to ensure that the players and coaches who participate in the game of rugby do so in an environment that does no harm and mitigates against the risk of unnecessary illness and injury, as SA Rugby remains the controlling body and custodian of rugby in South Africa.
Kindly make sure that this information is communicated to all clubs, communities and associations in your area of jurisdiction. Make sure you communicate it to NPO’s that you are aware of to make sure the nearly 900 000 rugby players out there are not responsible for spreading this disease.
Jurie Roux, Chief Executive Officer, SA Rugby